Facing up to the challenges of TB reactors and housing cows
A few weeks back the first piece of robotic equipment arrived on my farm. I purchased a Lely discovery scraper. It replaced the 16-year-old automatic scrapers which were starting to show their age.
Also they weren't installed to scrape all the cubicle passages - a job we were doing by hand scraper twice daily after milking.
An app on the phone controls the scraper now. It takes a little while to get the hang of it. The cows are adjusting to it also. We were advised not to run the scraper at night for the first week or so in order to allow cows to settle down with it.
It was purchased through a 0pc leasing scheme over three years which was appealing. Some adjustments had to be made to gates to allow the rebot under them. 'Bumpstops' had to be placed at doors and exits so that the robot knows to stop and turn.
Thankfully the weather is continuing to be very autumnal for late October. It has to be the best and driest 'back end' for many years. Cows were housed by night at the weekend gone by because grass was getting scarce and also it was getting darker every morning when I was herding them in to get milked.
Another reason for housing them was that they weren't cleaning out paddocks that well at night.
Currently the 76 cows are producing 18 litres at 4.39pc BF, 3.77pc PR, giving 1.5kg MS/cow/day, lactose 4.65pc, TBC 5000, SCC 131, Therm 100. Cows are getting 3kgs of an 18pc protein ration, 5kgs of silage and 9kgs grass.
The farm cover is at 955 and cows are going into covers of around 1500. I am strip grazing paddocks in an effort to clean out paddocks as best as possible.